Using Resolve Track Nodes: Controlling Uncontrollable Light Sources

August 30, 2013

Learn how to make a global correction to the brightest and most intensely saturated areas of an image without tediously creating nodes for each shot.

Every now and again I’m presented with footage that has an uncontrollable light source that acts as a distracting entity. Police cars, ambulances, neon signs, or anything of the like can have ever changing colors with intense saturation and/or brightness that takes away from the subject matter at hand.

In this video, I’ll quickly explain how to make an overlying correction to the brightest and most intensely saturated areas without having to create individual nodes for each shot. This general correction can help save tons of time and make sure that you stay within legal limits.


Member Content

Sorry... the rest of this content is for members only. You'll need to login or Join Now to continue (we hope you do!).

Need more information about our memberships? Click to learn more.

Membership options
Member Login

Are you using our app? For the best experience, please login using the app's launch screen


Homepage Forums Using Resolve Track Nodes: Controlling Uncontrollable Light Sources

  • Steve Sebban

    Hey Rob, I’m trying to replicate the “Prog Segment” feature of Symphony in Resolve 9 but I’m having a hard time doing so.
    Is it possible do use the “Track” feature on a segment of timeline and not on the whole timeline?

  • Dan Moran

    Hey Steve! I’m not exactly sure how the Prog Segment works in Symphony but you can indeed use track mode only on a certain part of the timeline. You this by using keyframes while in track mode. If you want a hard cut between grades you use the marks and if you want it to be a gradual change you use the dynamic keyframes. I’m sure we could do an insight on this soon!

  • Steve Sebban

    Exactly what I was looking for! I’ll give it a try. Thanks Dan!

  • Hi Steve, Dan is absolutely right. You can work on segments in track mode by using keyframes or dynamics. I should also note to be very careful when working in track mode. It’s easy to forget that you’re there and all of a sudden you’ve created a complex node graph intended for one shot that is now being applied to all shots! I find it best to keep things simple while in track mode and normally limit myself to one or two nodes.

  • Hmm,

    Not so sure about this tip. The grading tip itself is good but the workflow… I know we all work differently but pulling a key in the track and then toggle it on/off in keyframes (as discussed here but not in the tip) seems like a lot of work and prone to it being left on for other clips. I’d think that pulling this key in a clip, labelling the node, save a still and label that THEN use that still as an append to any clip or group that needed it would be cleaner and allow for easier tweaks. It seems too specific a grade to have sat in the track layer of a whole movie. Then again, I only use the track layer for things like grain mattes or perhaps lowering the contrast a touch for a youtube version – things that will be over the whole output.

  • RobbieCarman

    Michael –

    I think you’re right about the the complexity of the dynamics on the track level – it can get messy. And you’re also right about the appending a node to a correction. However, I will say that I use track level adjustments like Rob all the time. Here are a few examples.

    1. The hi/low sat key. Perfect for concerts, heavily stylized shows (I do a lot of crime/docudrama shows that are allows very saturated). You’re not pulling a key specifically for a shot but rather a range – the highest or lowest saturated stuff. Now of course this could be done on the clip level but it can be convenient on the track level as its one less thing on the clip node tree you have to worry about.

    2. Soft Clipping – I actually do this a ton – I’ll put a node on track level and use the soft clip controls to roll off the high end and low end just a touch. This helps especially with RGB gamut excursions that can creep thru. Its not a severe correction but it helps with legality issues. Again this is an overall approach but can be used along side clip level soft clipping.

    3. If soft clipping is not giving me the control I want I will sometimes use the curves at the track level to draw a little “knee” especially at the high end – of course you can do this luma only, RGB or both. I find my self using the luma only knee quite a bit to try to save some highlights before my proper grade on the clip level – especially on projects with lots of strong highlights.

    The beauty about resolve of course is that you can have track and clip level adjustments. Where you do what I think a lot of time is personal preference. All I’m saying is I do frequently use track level adjustments

  • I agree that it is useful to roll off in what ever way in the track for legal limits on things like concert footage. I still wouldn’t deal with an issue from 1 scene of a drama in the track but perhaps I’m just getting too hung up on Rob’s choice of footage and if we’d have been looking at a concert I’d be saying thanks great tip!.

    Putting the soft clip for the same reason in the track makes sense too. It being a downstream grade it’s a good place for a destructive correction.

  • Hi Michael, ideally I would have had concert footage, but unfortunately I couldn’t get the sign off to use it. We have to get clearance on all the shots that we use and this was a relatively close scenario with the police lights. I agree with you that keyframing dynamics on the track level would be particularly annoying.

Log in to reply.

1,000+ Tutorials to Explore

Get full access to our entire library of over 1,100+ color tutorials for an entire week!

Start Your Test Drive!